Title: The Email Order Bridegroom, Chapter 21
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur has a plan to stay in the United States. That plan is Merlin.
Warnings: Excessive, ridiculous schmoop and smiling
Word Count: 1087
Prompt: 190 Obvious
Author's Notes: This is a continuation of The Email Order bridegroom which starts here.
Before he can fully relax into the kiss there’s a loud bell announcing their floor. Merlin reluctantly pulls away. Arthur is giving him a rather dreamy smile so he smiles back and turns to face the opening doors.
The ballroom is a hive of activity. Several people are moving cameras and microphones about on the wedding reception set. There’s a dance floor with a DJ doing a noisy sound check and men and women in formal wear sitting and standing among dozens of opulently decorated tables around the room. Merlin points at a short line in front of a folding table across the space. “I think that’s me,” he says holding his hand out for the bags Arthur’s carrying.
For a moment he thinks Arthur’s going to insist on escorting him further onto the set but Arthur just hands Merlin his messenger and clothing bags and gathers him into a hug.
“Give me a call when you’re done being brilliant and I’ll come pick you up,” he says moving back, hands still on Merlin’s shoulders as he looks at Merlin for a second then moves in for another fleeting kiss. Merlin wants to deepen it but Arthur steps away with a soft smile. “I’ll see you in a few hours. Break a leg.”
Merlin nods, trying to clear his head, “Yeah, okay. I’ll call.” He’s walking backward toward the table, not breaking eye contact when he crashes into something solid. Fortunately it’s a column not a piece of equipment but Merlin takes this as a sign he needs to pay more attention so he gives Arthur a little wave and moves to the end of the line.
He’s one of over fifty actors being moved like chess pieces from one scene to another. For the first four and a half hours there’s mingling, raising toasts with sparkling apple juice, wedding cake, holding an empty glass up to a bartender, gazing over the Los Angeles skyline, and laughing at witty remarks being said. Well, that and standing about as shots are set up and broken down. Merlin’s feet ache but he’s almost childishly thrilled to be in his element.
The wedding is the backdrop to the story of two teenage boys, bored brothers of the blandly attractive bride and groom. The shoot is long but the Oscar winning, Merlin can't help mentally squeeing director knows what he wants and is pulling remarkable performances from the two young leads bonding over their brother and sister’s purportedly terrible taste in everything, including one another. The actors have terrific chemistry and under the hilariously snarky dialogue there’s real vulnerability being portrayed as they tentatively open up to one another.
During the dinner break Merlin is standing over the crafts services table loading a paper plate with cheese sandwiches and raw vegetables. He puts a couple energy bars in his pocket in case he needs a pick me up later.
“Don’t let the script supervisor catch you ruining the line of those trousers. She’ll tear you a new one about continuity,” says a tall blonde woman piling carrot and celery sticks into a red plastic cup. Merlin laughs but transfers the energy bars to his jacket as she continues. “I’m Elena Godwin, you’re Merlin, right?”
“Oh, hey.” He sticks out his hand for a shake but sees that Elena’s hands are full so he drops it, embarrassed. “It’s nice to meet you. Thank you for hiring me. The script is brilliant.”
Elena flashes him a toothy grin. “It is, isn’t it? Want to meet the writer? He’s on set.”
Merlin’s heart starts racing. “I don’t want to bother anyone.”
Elena snorts loudly. “No bother,” she waves the cup of crudités around a bit wildly. “I’m getting all this rabbit food for him. Maybe you can help me distract him from his angsting about his vision. C’mon.”
She marches off toward a row of director’s chairs close to the sound board so Merlin follows along in her wake. Elena pulls up in front of a sweet faced, blue eyed brunette and unceremoniously collapses in the chair next to Merlin announcing “Hey, Mordy, this is Merlin. He thinks your script is the tits.”
Merlin can feel the blush take him by storm as he protests, “That’s not what I said!”
The young man laughs and sits up, “No, of course you didn’t.” He takes the cup from Elena, holding out his free hand to Merlin. “Hello, Merlin, I’m Mordred.”
“It's nice to meet you, Mordred, and what I really said was the script is brilliant. It’s been hard not to laugh out loud.”
“That's a relief to hear. I’ve read and edited it so much it’s hard to tell if the humor’s working."
"It's very funny and quite moving, too," Merlin assures him.
"Thank you. The story's loosely based on meeting my first boyfriend, though I’ve made the characters much wittier and better looking than those two awkward boys getting drunk on stolen champagne ever were,” Mordred continues, eyes sparkling with obvious pleasure at the compliments.
“I think we’d all make improvements if we could script our lives,” Merlin says with a smile. “It was nice to meet you but I need to eat before the director calls us all back.”
Mordred hooks a foot behind the leg of the chair to his right, pulling it forward with a smile. “No need to run off, sweet. We’ve only just met.”
Merlin looks to Elena to see if this is all right but she’s focused on her food so he takes the seat and starts in on his sandwich.
“So, Merlin, who was that handsome fellow we saw you with earlier?” Mordred asks after a few seconds silence.
Merlin looks up, surprised. “What?”
“The good looking blonde?” Mordred waves a celery stick around his torso “Tight abs, rugby player thighs? Kissable lips that looked very well kissed? Elena and I couldn't help noticing how pretty you two were.”
The blush is back full force but Merlin straightens in his seat. Elena looks like she wants to stab Mordred with her plastic fork which makes Merlin feel a bit less embarrassed. “I didn’t realize we were that obvious but Arthur actually likes to think of himself as devastatingly handsome. For the record, though his thighs are muscular but they’re not rugby player muscular,” he answers with a laugh.
“Arthur and Merlin. Sounds like you were meant to be,” Mordred says, giving Elena a grin.
Merlin holds up his half eaten sandwich, pointing to the wedding ring, “He’s my husband.”
Mordred’s face lights up, “Husband? That’s wonderful. You’re a cutie. Arthur is a lucky man.”
Merlin gives him a face splitting smile, “I think we both are.”